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Edtech major BYJU's sacks thousands, and then hires Lionel Messi

Edtech major BYJU's sacks thousands, and then hires Lionel Messi
Edtech major BYJU's, in the process of laying off thousands of employees as part of restructuring its business, on Friday hired football star and sports icon Lionel Messi as the global brand ambassador for its social impact arm, and the move has not gone well with the industry as well as people.

The long-term engagement, which begins as Messi embarks on his final campaign to win the World Cup as captain of Argentina, will see him feature in campaigns promoting BYJU'S 'Education For All'.

Abhishek Desai, Founder, CricHeroes, told IANS that it does sound like the irony that where you are laying off people on one side and hiring Messi as your global brand ambassador.

"But I think that's the cost everyone pays for growing too fast. It's not that the company does not have money but growing too fast it creates a lot of redundancy in the organisation. Sooner or later you have to fix that and I think these layoffs are a result of that," said Desai.

"Not only BYJU's but we are seeing something similar in Twitter also right now which is a public company. Until and unless we come out of this mindset, such incidents are bound to happen," he added.

BYJU's founder and CEO Byju Raveendran have told employees that there is a huge price to pay for walking on the path to profitability and the company will part ways with 5 per cent or 2,500 employees to "avoid role duplication across our businesses".

Earlier this year, BYJU'S made history by becoming the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Football has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide, and Messi has a social media following of nearly 450 million.

According to Syed Nadeem Jafri, Founder and Chief Mentor of Hearty Mart, laying off employees is part of any organisational journey.

"However, hiring Messi is to counter the dent in the image, which might have happened due to the laying-off move, which seems more like a PR image-building ploy rather than any strategic plan behind it," said Jafri.

In Kerala, BYJU's earlier decision to wind up their operations had asked 140 of the 170 employees to quit.

However, after conciliatory talks that were led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with BYJU's on Wednesday, it was decided that the edtech unicorn will not shut its operations at the Technopark campus here.

The company said they have decided to relook at the restructuring plans and continue its development centre in the Trivandrum Technopark office.

Shrijay Sheth, Founder of, told IANS that businesses need to realise the value of sustainable hiring to build a long-term employer brand.

"What is important here is to provide enough resources to the cohort for finding alternative opportunities, and minimize their personal damage. Entrepreneurs as their core function hold trusteeship of the overall welfare of the stakeholders, including employees," Sheth said.

A Twitter user commented: "How's this possible, he wouldn't come for free that too for a company that's reducing its workforce and is in deep losses?"

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